Former patient from the Valley celebrates third birthday at Driscoll Children’s Hospital 39th annual NICU Reunion

Alma Flores (from left), Ricky Garces, Miguel DeLeon, MD, Medical Director, Driscoll Children’s Hospital Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), Cory Farias, RN, Rolando Garces Jr., and Rolando Garces enjoy the 39th annual NICU Reunion at Driscoll Children’s Hospital on Saturday.

Ricky Garces of Mercedes celebrated his third birthday Saturday in Corpus Christi at Driscoll Children’s Hospital, the hospital that took such good care of him after he was born on Oct. 14, 2014.

The occasion was a festive one, the 39th annual NICU Reunion held each year outdoors at Driscoll Children’s Hospital for graduates of the Level IV Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), the first in South Texas to receive the state’s highest level of designation.

One hundred twenty-seven NICU graduates and their families enjoyed the event, which featured games, face painting, a Moonwalk, pumpkin designing, prizes and pizza. Many wore Halloween costumes as they had a chance to reunite with their caregivers from the NICU.

For Ricky’s mom, Alma Flores of Mercedes, the NICU Reunion was a chance for her and most of her family to be together. She currently is staying at the Ronald McDonald House next door to Driscoll Children’s Hospital while her newborn daughter, Raelynn Garces, is in Driscoll’s NICU. This was the family’s first time to attend the NICU Reunion.

Flores was excited to see Miguel DeLeon, MD, Medical Director of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, and Cory Farias, RN. She credits them for the excellent care Ricky received during his month-long NICU stay in 2014. Flores explained that Farias was the nurse who watched Ricky the three nights he was so sick.

“We are very thankful. The NICU staff does a great job of taking care of everyone,” she said. “The care is excellent and Dr. DeLeon is a good leader.”

“I was very honored they could come back to see us,” said Dr. DeLeon. “It was a miracle to see Ricky after all the complex medical problems he had to deal with.”

After enjoying the fun and festivities at Driscoll, Ricky and his family finished the birthday celebration with a chocolate cake at the Ronald McDonald House.

“We will always be very grateful to Driscoll, Dr. DeLeon and his staff,” said Flores.